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Eatontown Personal Injury Law Blog

Experts warn about mistaken vasculitis diagnoses

When people in New Jersey go to a hospital or a doctor, they expect to receive an accurate diagnosis of their health conditions. However, they may face a surprisingly common likelihood of misdiagnosis in some cases. Vasculitis is a type of inflammation of the blood vessels, which can be dangerous at times. However, there are other conditions that can appear to resemble vasculitis, but the effective treatments for the inflammatory condition could actually lead to worsened health in these cases.

Experts are advising rheumatologists and other physicians to be careful when making vasculitis diagnoses in order to avoid potentially harmful medical mistakes as the result of an incorrect diagnosis. High-dose corticosteroids are some of the most common initial treatments for vasculitis. However, endocarditis often resembles vasculitis. One patient who was treated with steroids had a stroke and suffered permanent disabilities as a result. Blood cultures were not ordered before treatment was started, and the similar disease was missed. In addition, many adults develop vasculitis as a side effect of a drug, including both prescribed and recreational substances. This type of vasculitis can require different treatments than those cases that arise spontaneously.

Flaggers at high risk for roadway injury, death

Controlling traffic flow in work zones can be a dangerous occupation. Flaggers in New Jersey should know that there were 132 people who died in roadway work zones in 2017. They were all killed in car crashes, usually involving a driver who was speeding or being aggressive.

The Center for Construction Research and Training has provided some tips for flaggers so that they can remain safe in these zones. First of all, flaggers should wear high-visibility clothing. To protect themselves from adverse weather, they should wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hard hats, among other things. When working at night, it's wise to wear a reflective vest.

Top five hazards for construction workers in summer

Representatives of Honeywell Industrial Safety have laid out the five leading safety hazards for construction workers during the summer. Employees and employers alike in New Jersey will want to know what these are so that they can address them accordingly.

First is the danger of heat-induced fatigue. Fatigue can affect workers' judgment, concentration and reaction times. Second is heat-related illness, which includes conditions like heat rash and heat stroke. The solutions to both overlap. Employers should provide mandatory breaks in the shade and plenty of liquids. When jobs are physically demanding, supervisors should cycle workers in and out.

Surgeons' unprofessional behavior leads to patient complications

Studies have shown that surgeons whose behavior receives complaints from patients and their family are more likely to leave their patients with post-operative complications. A report published in JAMA Surgery has linked a higher risk of patient complications with surgeons who have received complaints from their co-workers. New Jersey residents should know that 20% to 30% of surgeons receive such complaints.

Researchers analyzed 202 surgeons and 13,653 patients, finding that 1,583 of the patients experienced a complication within 30 days after their operation. It turns out that the risk for developing a complication goes up the more reports have been filed against a surgeon. Among surgeons with one to three reports, it goes up an estimated 18%. With surgeons who had four or more complaints, it becomes 32%.

Coup and coup-contrecoup brain injuries

Emergency rooms in New Jersey and around the country treat several different types of serious brain injury. Coup injuries affect the part of the brain that was exposed to trauma while contrecoup injures are found opposite to the point of contact. The most serious brain injuries are what are known as coup-contrecoup injuries that affect both sides of the brain. Coup injuries are usually caused by an object striking the head while contrecoup injuries are most often suffered when a moving head strikes a wall, windshield or other stationary object.

While most coup-contrecoup injuries are suffered in accidents such as car crashes, they can also be caused by violent head movements. Babies sometimes suffer such injuries when they are shaken violently. Contrecoup and coup-contrecoup injuries occur when the brain moves and strikes the inside of the skull, but the reason this happens is not fully understood by medical science. It is known that inertia plays a role, and many neurologists believe that the movement of cerebrospinal fluid following head trauma is responsible.

Scientists discover form of dementia that mimics Alzheimer's

Scientists have discovered a form of dementia that mimics the symptoms of Alzheimer's but is in fact distinct from it. It is now clear that patients in New Jersey and across the U.S. may have been misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer's. The discovery also shows that many factors can contribute to dementia.

The newly defined dementia has been labeled as limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, or LATE dementia. Unlike Alzheimer's, this form of dementia is not caused by the buildup of beta-amyloid, the protein that hardens into plaque in the brain and kills neurons. Rather, a different protein called TDP-43, when misfolded, causes problems with memory and thinking. Misfolded TDP-43 is often associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, the center of memory.

Long hours increase risk of miner injuries

Miners in New Jersey and elsewhere are more likely to suffer workplace injuries if they work long hours, according to a new study. The study, which was published in the journal BMJ Occupational and Environmental Medicine in April, was conducted by researchers from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Researchers examined over 545,000 injury reports filed with the Mine Safety and Health Administration between 1983 and 2015. They discovered that 9.6% of hurt miners worked at least nine hours the day they were injured. The percentage was lower in 1983, with 5.5% of miners working a long shift the day they were hurt, and higher in 2015, with 13.9% of miners doing the same. They also discovered that miners who worked nine or more hours a day were at 73% greater risk of being caught up in an incident that injured multiple miners and at 32% greater risk of being killed on the job.

Study reveals that opioids are a growing threat to road safety

Drivers in New Jersey and around the country who get behind the wheel after taking opioid medications are twice as likely to die in a crash, according to a study published recently in JAMA Network Open. A research team from Columbia University came to this conclusion after scrutinizing 18,321 accident reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The researchers discovered that drivers impaired by opioids most often died after drifting out of their traffic lanes. This will likely come as no surprise to police officers as alcohol and opioid impairment have many similarities. Both alcohol and opioid medications slow down reaction times and make concentrating far more difficult. The dangers faced by sober road users are likely to remain high in the years ahead due to the highly addictive properties of drugs like oxycodone and fentanyl and the huge number of opioid prescriptions written by doctors each year.

An OSHA standard that could improve workplace electrical safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration presents a series of regulations and standards to help keep workers in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. safe while on the job. OSHA's NFPA 70E standard is meant to help both employers and workers ensure and improve workplace electrical safety. While some people do attempt to sidestep rules like this, it's generally agreed that proper implementation of the NFPA 70E standard is the better way to go for employers and independent contractors doing electrical work.

What this OSHA standard does is organize the way electrical work is done in a way that minimizes the risk of productivity-draining injuries and fatalities. For instance, the Job Briefing and Planning Checklist in Annex I of the NFPA 70E standard provides a list of protocols and safety procedures that should be addressed before electrical work actually begins. This comprehensive checklist can also be used by an employer or electrical contractor to perform a more thorough pre-job walk-through.

Improper medical garment removal can spread bacteria

New Jersey patients know that the medical staff members who treat them are only human and can make mistakes. Many mistakes are minor or caught very quickly before they can do any harm, but some medical errors can be serious and cause harm to patients or to others. Mistakes involving contaminated materials can spread disease throughout a medical setting. A recent study indicates that mistakes made by health care workers when removing personal protective clothing can contaminate clothing or equipment with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The study that was conducted by researchers in Chicago observed nurses and doctors in adult intensive care units for a period of six months. Half of the 125 health care workers observed had been formally trained in the proper use of protective garments and equipment in the previous year. Ninety percent had received training in 'donning and doffing" of personal protective garments in the previous five years.

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